Cyclone Debbie aftermath in Airlie. Shute Harbour Motel destroyed by Cylone Debbie. Photo: Alix Sweeney.
Cyclone Debbie aftermath in Airlie. Shute Harbour Motel destroyed by Cylone Debbie. Photo: Alix Sweeney.

Incredible efforts in Debbie’s aftermath to be recognised

HEROES who helped during one of the Whitsundays' most devastating cyclones will soon be officially recognised.

Volunteers and emergency workers who directly responded to Tropical Cyclone Debbie in 2017 and the 2019 North Queensland Floods are now eligible to apply for the National Emergency Medal.

Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen said it was important to acknowledge the service of thousands of volunteers and emergency responders.

"North Queensland was hit with two major weather events in two years, and both times, our emergency workers and volunteers were there for our communities, often risking their own safety for the sake of ours." Mr Christensen said.

"Tragically 14 people lost their lives when Tropical Cyclone Debbie crossed the coast and last years' monsoon floods took five lives, not to mention the serious social and economic impacts that are still being felt to this day.

"Without the tireless and unrelenting efforts of our emergency workers and volunteers, who knows how many lives would have been lost, or how long it would have taken to get our communities back on their feet.

"It's very fitting that we recognise the sacrifice of our emergency response heroes with the National Emergency Response Medal."

The Governor-General David Hurley agreed to a recommendation from the Australian Government, and the National Emergency Medal Committee, that these events be declared nationally-significant emergencies.

This follows the recent announcement that brave responders will be eligible to receive a medal in recognition of their service during the 2019-20 Black Summer Bushfire season.

The National Emergency Medal, established in 2011, recognises service in response to a nationally-significant emergency.

More than 15,000 people have been recognised for their selfless service to the bushfires in Victoria in 2009 and the floods in Queensland in December/January 2010-11.

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